Ever since we were yea high (you know the height you make with your hand when you say yea high) we’ve been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Your mum, your doctor, that kid who wheeled a suitcase about at school who everyone called Terminal 2: they all said it from day one. Everyone knows brunch, lunch and dinner are tastier though.
But, sometimes, breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. It could be because you’ve got a work meeting first thing and need the right place to make the right impression (and you need to eat the right things), or it could be because this is the only meal you know you’re definitely going to be able to sit down to eat because you’re going somewhere or doing something very important. Whatever the reason, these are the places you should be going when early morning consumption is your number one priority.
Your boss is over from across the pond and he wants an ‘authentic London experience’. He’s already been overcharged for the cab he picked up at Heathrow, so that’s one authentic experience crossed off, but before you take him to any old greasy spoon where Barbara Windsor’s estranged sister will slam a plate of beans on toast down in front of him, remember that what he really has in mind is Jeeves bringing a pot of tea and some kedgeree. The Wolseley is ideal for this sort of thing. It’s open from 7am - perfect for any survivors of the red eye - and the setting is marvellously decadent. It will make you and whoever you’re with feel like you’re starting your day in the best way possible.
Fine dining for breakfast? What’s that gonna be? A sous vide egg yolk sprinkled with bacon ash served with a sourdough smoke? Probably somewhere, but not at Aquavit. This is fun fine dining, Nordic-style. Woo a client as you eat your crisp rye bread with cods roe, or treat a loved one to a bit of smoked eel benedict. Despite framing itself as a fancy place, Aquavit is actually very accessible menu-wise and money-wise, so it’s the perfect choice if you’re looking for somewhere a bit swish to start the day.
There’s a reason why everyone - from your neighbour to your boyfriend’s little sister’s best friend’s mum’s dog walker - has recommended the Dishoom bacon and egg naan. It is really, really, really good. So good you’ll probably want more than one. Oh. Is that just us? Okay. Fine.
There isn’t a better way to start things off than with a bacon sandwich. That’s a fact. And if you want one of the best bacon sandwiches in London, then head to St John Bread and Wine. There isn’t another restaurant in London that makes it their absolute business to serve proper old school British breakfasts. The bacon sandwich is legendary and it’s paired with their home-made ketchup or brown sauce. Getting one of these down you at around 8 or 9 in the morning is the best way to mentally prepare yourself for the Shoreditch crowds.
Somebody you love, or somebody you want to be loved by, is going away. You want to send them off in style. Real style. Classy style. ‘Wow, I love that person’ style. That’s why you’re going to book breakfast at Luca. It’s one of our favourite restaurants in London and the fact they do breakfast is an absolute gift from above (above being the fine people who run Luca). Things like their focaccia with smoked ricotta, spinach and pistachio is something you probably would have never had for breakfast and will wonder why. Why?! Needless to say, there will also be a morning side of parmesan fries involved.
If you’d proposed eating polenta and feta cakes for breakfast 20 years ago, a lot of people would have probably looked at you quizzically and asked if it comes with beans. Times have a-changed though people, and Ottolenghi has played a decent part in that. This is a reliable choice first thing in the morning, whether you’re craving polenta cakes or some bacon, eggs, and focaccia. And the four locations mean it’s a go-to around the city.
Don’t be put off by the fact that The Regency is London’s most famous, best looking, and most photographed cafe. It’s also - alongside E. Pellicci - its best. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner here (if you like to dine before 7.30), but it’s really the breakfast you want. Portions are generous without being too much, which is why you should get your plate loaded up with as much as you can afford. The fact that your order will be yelled to the room when it’s ready shouldn’t deter you from being a glutton. There’s no shame here. And hearing Claudia holler ‘full English, beans, all the extras, twice’ is the reason you came.
If we’re gonna recommended a legendary west London caf, then we’ve got to recommended a legendary east London caf as well (our apologies to North and South). E. Pellicci’s is just that. If you’re looking for a slap on the back, a joke about your mum and a fry up so big you’ll need a half-time break, then this is the place to go.
It’s highly likely that you, or somebody you’re going to breakfast with, will have to have a coffee. Because nobody ever just wants a coffee in the morning. They NEED one. ‘Omfg I’m going to die if I don’t get a flat white in me’ said nobody in the 1970s ever. That’s okay though, we get it, and if you’re going to go to a good coffee place, you need to make sure they serve a proper breakfast as well. That’s where Ozone comes in. This is less a coffee shop and more of a breakfast, brunch, and all things munch emporium. It’s open early doors - from 7am - which is perfect given its Shoreditch location. After all, who isn’t craving kedgeree at that time?
Right you’ve said you’re working from home. Only you actually do need to work. But not from home because you can’t work there. You never finished the last season of Attenborough, and that episode with the baby seal has been giving you the eyes for weeks. You need to start the day right and then get to it somewhere else. We highly recommend heading to Esters in Stoke Newington. Their breakfasts are inventive and delicious, and once you’ve fuelled yourself, you can head to the library five minutes away to actually get some work done.
We like our oats and yoghurt with fruit compote as much as anyone, but sometimes the day needs to start with noodles. That’s what Koya City was made for. The Japanese food specialists are serving a full breakfast menu at their Bloomberg Arcade branch, and there isn’t an avocado smash or home-made granola or sight. You’re more likely to be eating home-made pickled apples, mushroom ochazuke or grilled fish, brown rice and miso soup. If you’re a traditionalist you can also get their full English. It comes with shiitake mushrooms, bacon and egg, and it’s served in a bowl of broth and udon. Perfect.
Fitzrovia isn’t short of coffee shops that’ll serve you something for breakfast, but when we’re in the BBC’s backyard and in need of something special to start the day, we head downstairs to Attendant’s converted public convenience. It’s a breakfast of the almond milk porridge, avocado smash, and house-made granola variety here. That’s to say, they like to keep it simple. But they also do an irresistible bacon roll, and their breakfast bowl is perfect if you need to feel filled without feeling weighed down for the rest of the day.